Virtual Event: Aimee Bender

presenting

The Butterfly Lampshade:
A Novel

in conversation with KELLY LUCE

Date

Aug
11
Tuesday
August 11, 2020
7:00 PM

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $3 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes AIMEE BENDER—author of the bestselling story collection The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, and the novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake—for a discussion of her latest, highly anticipated novel The Butterfly Lampshade. She will be joined in conversation by Kelly Luce, author of the acclaimed novel Pull Me Under.

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About The Butterfly Lampshade

On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to go live with her aunt and uncle. There is a lovely lamp next to the couch on which she's sleeping, the shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.

Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents—her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact—she is sure these things happened. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories maintain over her, and what they say about her own place in the world.

As Francie conjures her past and reduces her engagement with the world to a bare minimum, she begins to question her relationship to reality. The scenes set in Francie's past glow with the intensity of childhood perception, how physical objects can take on an otherworldly power. The question for Francie is, What do these events signify? And does this power survive childhood?

Told in the lush, lilting prose that led the San Francisco Chronicle to say Aimee Bender is "a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language," The Butterfly Lampshade is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and a broken love between mother and child.

Praise for The Butterfly Lampshade

"In Bender’s astounding meditation on time, space, mental illness, and family—her first novel in a decade (after The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake)—a 28-year-old woman works to solidify her memories from childhood . . . Rich in language and the magic of human consciousness, Bender’s masterpiece is one to savor." —Publishers Weekly

Aimee Bender
Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender is the author of the novels The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake—a New York Times bestseller—and An Invisible Sign of My Own, and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures, and The Color Master. Her works have been widely anthologized and have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Mark Miller

Kelly Luce
Kelly Luce

Kelly Luce

Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, winner of Foreword Review’s Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under, a Book of the Month Club selection and one of Elle’s Best Books of 2016. Her work has been recognized by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross Foundation, and has appeared in New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Salon, and other publications. She received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin in 2015. She is the editor of The Commuter at Electric Literature and was a 2016-17 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Photo Credit: Alex Jaynes

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

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